MAHARAJAH OF SHISHKEBOB
Real Name: Unrevealed
Identity/Class: Human, Indian citizen
Group Membership: None
Affiliations: Pamela Lang, Nellie Nelson, Dr. "Snazzy" Wilks, unidentified butler
Enemies: None (though Pamela Lang probably doesn't think too highly of him)
Known Relatives: None
Aliases: "The Roguish Rajah" (see comments)
Base of Operations: Shishkebob, India (presumably)
First Appearance: Nellie the Nurse I#15/2 (October 1948)
Powers/Abilities: The Maharajah is extremely rich, proficient at riding elephants, and a reasonable tennis player. He appears to have a passing interest in performing social experiments, though this is probably a hobby rather than academic skill, given he pronounced a conclusion about all American women based on a test sample size of just one individual, suggesting he really doesn't understand the scientific method.
5'4" (by estimation - see comments)
Weight: 230 lbs. (by estimation)
(Nellie the Nurse I#15/2 (fb) - BTS) - The Maharajah of Shishkebob was an immensely wealthy Indian nobleman. He fell ill, and American doctor "Snazzy" Wilks helped him become well again, earning the Maharajah's gratitude.
(Nellie the Nurse
I#15/2) - Desiring to do a scientific study into what American
women were truly interested in, the Maharajah sent a letter to Wilks at
Harkins General Hospital where he worked, inviting him to visit the
Maharajah's American estate and to bring along a female friend. The
Maharajah laid out his scientific intention openly in the invitation,
and Wilks was considering refusing, but his girlfriend, Harkins' nurse
Nellie Nelson, became fascinated at the idea of meeting a real Maharajah
and begged him to take her, failing to read the whole letter and so
unaware of the Maharajah's motive.
Wilks and Nellie were met upon
arrival at the estate by the Maharajah, who complimented the doctor on
his taste in women and proceeded to shower Nellie with flattery, much to
her pleasure and Snazzy's rapidly growing annoyance. Increasingly
suspicious as to what the Maharajah had planned, Snazzy tried to claim
they could only stay for a few minutes, but Nellie rebutted this,
insisting they could stay as long as the Maharajah wanted them to. The
Maharajah suggested a compromise - Nellie could stay forever if she
liked, while Snazzy could leave. Snazzy angrily declined this idea, so
the Maharajah, wanting time alone with Nellie to carry out his study,
next suggested Snazzy could inspect the Maharajah's hothouse or play
chess with his butler. Snazzy snapped that he didn't play chess, nor did
he like flowers, prompting Nellie to try to calm the situation,
suggesting that perhaps they could play tennis together on the
Maharajah's private courts. The Maharajah happily agreed, falsely
claiming to be rusty, then deliberately smashed the ball over the wall
at the back of the courts, fully aware that on the other side was a
swamp. Claiming it was his last ball, he asked Snazzy to retrieve it,
confidant that the search would keep the physician occupied for an hour
As soon as he was alone with Nellie, he admitted his ruse to her, explaining he wanted to have some time alone with her. He asked her to abandon her boring life, stating that someone as fair as her belonged in a palace surrounded by servants, riches and wealth. Believing her wavering, he swiftly continued, offering her rubies, diamonds, gold, and an elephant of her very own. Before he could continue with his barrage of offers, he was interrupted by a sodden Snazzy, who had just returned from the swamp after seeing through the Maharajah's deception. The Maharajah begged the enraged Snazzy to calm down, and tried to explain himself, but Snazzy insisted that it was perfectly clear what the Maharajah was trying to do, and that he and Nellie were leaving. Acting swiftly, the Maharajah suggested they cool off with a brisk plunge in the swimming pool. Before Snazzy could refuse, Nellie declared it a wonderful idea, and the doctor reluctantly acquiesced. As he and the Maharajah changed into their trunks, the Maharajah used Nellie's temporary absence to try and explain himself, noting that he was only "trying to get the girl alone..." but Snazzy didn't let him finish the sentence, instead agreeing that the Maharajah was trying, and warning that he intended to stick close to the nobleman from now on. As they finished changing, the Maharajah thought to himself that he had to get Nellie alone in order to conduct his experiments.
Reuniting with a bikini-clad Nellie, Snazzy
swiftly jumped into the pool, only for Nellie to decide the water looked
too cold and declare she'd rather have something to warm her up. To
Snazzy's ire, the Maharajah seized the opportunity to escort Nellie
away, offering her a hot cup of tea "for two." However, the Maharajah
only had a few minutes alone with Nellie before Snazzy rejoined them,
with the Maharajah decrying his continually interrupting the experiment.
At that moment the phone began ringing, and when the Maharajah answered,
he learned it was Harkins General, calling to say that both Snazzy and
Nellie needed to come in at once. Unaware that this was a ruse Snazzy
had hastily arranged with a phone call of his own after leaving the
swimming pool, the Maharajah dejectedly passed on the message to his
visitors, adding in tears that his day was now ruined and begging them
not to leave him there alone. Snazzy consoled him, informing the
Maharajah that he wouldn't be alone for long, as Snazzy had arranged for
another friend of his to come over and entertain him, this time with no
one else to interrupt. Just as Snazzy and Nellie departed the estate,
the other guest arrived: Nellie's avaricious and selfish fellow nurse
Pamela Lang, whom Snazzy had invited during the same phone call
arranging for him and Nellie to be called into work.
(Nellie the Nurse
I#15/2 - BTS) - The Maharajah tested Pam with the same kind of
offers he had tried to make to Nellie, promising her furs, jewels and
cars if she would become his wife. Overcome with excitement, Pam
fainted, and later informed Nellie that her afternoon with the Maharajah
had been wonderful, gushing about the Maharajah's offer. The Maharajah
however wasted little time in announcing his experiment and its results
- that all American women were interested in was money - to the
newspapers, going so far as to name Pam as his unwitting test subject.
With the story making the front page of the Daily View, Snazzy showed
the newspaper to Nellie, who had been angry at him for pulling her away
from the Maharajah until Snazzy told her what the noble had really been
up to, and a grateful Nellie took great pleasure in showing the headline
to a mortified Pam.
(Nellie the Nurse I#15/2) - Some time later (see comments) the Maharajah had his limousine modified to install a howdah, and was spotted riding atop his car by Snazzy and Nellie.
Comments: Created by uncredited writer, penciller and inker; it's entirely feasible that Stan Lee was the writer.
Addressing the elephant in the room first:
Obviously by today's standards the Maharajah of "Shishkebob" is a bit of
a dodgy stereotype, but it's perhaps worth noting that for the 1940s
he's positively progressive - he's not drawn with exaggerated features,
weirdly colored, depicted negatively in terms of intellect or
personality, and speaks perfectly normal English. In fact, if not for
the turban, curly shoes and name, he could as easily be a rich American
as an Indian maharajah.
The scene described above last, with the
Maharajah riding on top of a car in a howdah (the type of carriage
normally used to ride atop an elephant) is actually the first panel of
the story; it's almost like a comic cover, introducing the story without
fitting in with the rest of the tale, and Nellie clearly recognizes the
Maharajah based on her comments, despite not meeting him until a few
pages later. It could be dismissed as not being a real event, but I
prefer to treat it as a later event, shown slightly out of sequence.
He's not actually called by the alias of the
Roguish Rajah in the story, but it is the title of the tale, so I figure
it's worth listing.
Given that he wears a turban, he's presumably a Sikh, though he's also seen to have short hair when he takes the turban off to go swimming, which presumably means the artist didn't realize Sikh men don't cut their hair as one of the tenets of their faith.
I've estimated him to be around 5'4"; he's seen walking next to Nellie in one panel, and even with his turban on is visibly several inches shorter than her, though at least some of that height difference would be down to her heels. Nellie's never had a handbook entry to provide her official height, but Millie the Model does, and is 5'7"; Millie and Nellie met in Millie the Model I#85/9, and appear to be the same height as one another.
This profile was completed 12/09/2020, but its publication was delayed as it was intended for the Appendix 20th anniversary 's celebratory event.
Profile by Loki.
The Maharajah of Shishkebob has no known connections to:
When Skeezy and Nellie visited the Maharajah, their host suggested Skeezy play his unseen butler at chess as a pretext to get rid of the young doctor so he could spend time alone with Nellie.
Comments: The butler is mentioned but not seen in
the story itself, but in the first panel of the story, which doesn't fit
with the main body of the story, we see the Maharajah's car being driven
by a servant wearing a turban; though it's certainly conceivable that
someone as wealthy as the Maharajah could have multiple servants, with a
chauffeur as well as a butler, since we only see one servant and
likewise only hear of one servant, I'm going to assume it's the
--Nellie the Nurse I#15/2
Nellie the Nurse I#15/2,
p3, pan1 (main image)
Nellie the Nurse I#15/2, p3, pan2 (image)
Nellie the Nurse I#15/2, p5, pan7 (without turban)
Nellie the Nurse I#15/2, p1, pan 1 (butler)
Nellie the Nurse I#15/2 (October 1948) - uncredited writer, pencils, inks, editor
First Posted: 09/01/2021
Last updated: 08/28/2021
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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